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A SBNation Community about Minor League Baseball, Rookies, and Prospects

Updated: 2018-01-19T08:45:02-05:00


Miami Marlins organization discussion



Let’s talk about the Miami Marlins....what’s going on here?

I am now working on the Seattle Mariners Top 20 prospects for 2018 list, such as it is. The next team in line is the Miami Marlins, to be followed by the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Angels, Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox, and the New York Mets.

Use this thread to discuss the Miami Marlins organization. Possible points for discussion include, but are certainly not limited to:

****The Marlins finished 78-85 in 2017, second place in the National League Eastern Division. 2018 is obviously going to be much different with Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna all traded away.

****What’s your best guess for W-L in 2018?

****In general, what do you think of the prospects the Marlins have acquired over the last few weeks? Did they get enough?

****Aside from the return on the trades, what do you think of Derek Jeter as a front office person?

****Looking at the prospects, does Sandy Alcantara open in the rotation or does he need time in Triple-A? What do you think of lefty Dillon Peters?

****Can infielder Brian Anderson be a solid regular?

****As always, feel free to discuss sleepers or anything else Marlins-oriented.

Top 20 Prospects lists for 2018: Index by organization


Here’s a central index for Minor League Ball’s 2018 Top 20 prospects lists for each farm system. Here is an index for all the Minor League Ball Top 20 Prospects lists for all 30 MLB organizations for 2018. This will be updated each time a new team is added. AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST Baltimore OriolesBoston Red Sox (published January 11, 2018)New York Yankees (published December 8th, 2017, updated 12/18/17)Tampa Bay RaysToronto Blue Jays AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL Chicago White SoxCleveland Indians (published January 4, 2018)Detroit TigersKansas City Royals (published November 9, 2017, updated 12/18/17)Minnesota Twins (published October 24, 2017, updated 12/18/17) AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST Houston Astros (published November 27, 2017, updated 12/18/17)Los Angeles AngelsOakland Athletics (published December 20, 2017)Seattle MarinersTexas Rangers NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST Atlanta Braves (published November 3rd, 2017, updated 12/18/17)Miami MarlinsNew York MetsPhiladelphia PhilliesWashington Nationals (published December 24th, 2017) NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL Chicago Cubs (published December 2, 2017, updated 12/18/17)Cincinnati Reds (published January 18, 2018)Milwaukee BrewersPittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST Arizona Diamondbacks (published December 15, 2017)Colorado RockiesLos Angeles Dodgers (published November 16, 2017)San Diego Padres (published January 9, 2017)San Francisco Giants [...]

Cincinnati Reds Top 20 prospects for 2018


The Reds farm system is quite good and deserves more attention than it receives Cincinnati Reds Top 20 Prospects for 2018 The list and grades are a blending of present performance and long-term potential. Comments are welcome, but in the end all analysis and responsibility is mine. All of these grades are subject to change as the winter progresses. The final grades will be finished sometime in February when all 30 teams are complete. QUICK PRIMER ON GRADE MEANINGS Grade A prospects are the elite. In theory, they have a good chance of becoming stars or superstars. Theoretically, most Grade A prospects develop into stars or at least major league regulars, if injuries or other problems don’t intervene. Note that is a major “if” in some cases. Grade B prospects have a good chance to enjoy successful careers. Some will develop into stars, some will not. Most end up spending several years in the majors, at the very least in a marginal role. Grade C prospects are the most common type. These are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don’t make it at all. Finally, keep in mind that all grades are shorthand. A Grade C prospect in rookie ball could end up being very impressive, while a Grade C prospect in Triple-A is likely just a future role player. 1) Nick Senzel, 3B, Grade A-: Age 22, first round pick from University of Tennessee in 2016, excellent first full season with .321/.391/.514 line in High-A/Double-A, 49 walks, 97 strikeouts, 40 doubles, 14 homers, 14 steals in 455 at-bats; also played very well defensively with quality arm strength, range, reliability, and field awareness, controls strike zone well and shows power to all fields, handles both fastballs and breaking balls competently; only real question is home run projection, is he a 15-homer guy or a 25-homer guy at maturity? Either way he’s one of the top prospects in baseball. ETA late 2018. 2) Hunter Greene, RHP, Grade A-: Age 18, first round pick in 2017, second overall, from high school in Sherman Oaks, California; threw 4.1 innings in Pioneer League with 12.46 ERA, 6/1 K/BB, 8 hits allowed; small sample with spotty results but it did confirm velocity reports from high school with a 95-102 MPH fastball, and that velocity comes easy; shows potential with both slider and changeup; both need more work but could be plus with more repetitions; good secondary pitches will be critical because Greene’s easy delivery, while reducing stress on his body, doesn’t provide much deception; athleticism, makeup, work ethic, intelligence, and mound presence are all big positives; all told, he has all the tangibles and intangibles to be a top flight ace pitcher but needs to refine the secondaries and show how he handles a workload. ETA: conservatively, 2021, but could come sooner than that. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> 3) Taylor Trammell, OF, Grade B+: Age 20, compensation round pick in 2016 from high school in Georgia; hit .281/.368/.450 with 24 doubles, 10 triples, 13 homers, 71 walks, 123 strikeouts in 491 at-bats, also stole 41 bases; tools match the numbers, with 70-speed, 55-power, arm is weakest tool at 45-50 but good enough for left field or center, speed works at either outfield spot and he’s a very real steal danger on the bases; whiff rate a bit high but he made good progress locking down the strike zone and boosting OBP skills; could be ideal leadoff hitter with more power than most. ETA 2020. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports Tyler Mahle 4) Tyler Mahle, RHP, Grade B+: Age 23, seventh round pick in 2013 from high school in California, posted 2.06 ERA with 138/3[...]

Sleeper Prospect: Joe McCarthy, 1B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays



On-base star also provides positional flexibility

As far as names go, “Joe McCarthy” plays it generally safe. There’s nothing wrong with it, mind you, it’s actually a very cool name. Demands respect before putting name to face. Anyway, this Joe McCarthy isn’t the first one to make waves in Major League Baseball.

The unrelated Hall of Fame Manager Joe McCarthy helmed the Yankees as well as the Cubs and Red Sox from 1926 to 1950 and was elected to the Hall in 1957. His 2,125 managerial wins are eighth all-time.

While our newer Joe McCarthy isn’t going to be managing any time soon, he’ll be playing.

A fifth round pick in 2015 out of the University of Virginia, McCarthy boasts a spectacular hitter’s eye, runs very well for a first baseman/corner outfielder and is developing some pop. He’s not too far off from in-house comparisons to fellow organizational prospect Jake Bauers.

After the 2015 draft, McCarthy jumped into Short-A ball with Hudson Valley and hit .277, which is his lowest MiLB season average to date. He walked 18 times to 23 strikeouts and stole 18 bases in 49 games.

2016 began in full season ball with Low-A Bowling Green and here power entered the mix for McCarthy, who also began to play first base which subsequently supplanted left field as his primary position.

He slashed .288/.425/.425 for the Hot Rods, hitting his first three professional home runs, stealing 11 bases and driving in 29 runs in just 43 games.

(image) Donten Photography

After 92 games between Short-A and Low-A, a call-up to High-A Charlotte was in the cards. There, his numbers were similar across the board with a slight drop in stolen bases (11 to eight) but a bump in home runs (three to five).

The 23-year old then spent the entire 2017 campaign at Double-A Montgomery and was a star for the Biscuits, finishing second in the Southern League in OBP with an exceptional .409 clip. His .284 batting average was also a top ten mark and his 20 stolen bases a career-high.

31 doubles slotted him third in the league and seven home runs was his most at one level in a year, but did come a single long ball shy of his eight total in 2016.

On the depth chart, he nearly split his first base and outfield time evenly, making 61 appearances at the former and 62 at the latter, 57 of those coming in left field with three games in right and a pair of outings manning center.

The lefty thrower and hitter’s big season after two previously productive years has earned him a non-roster invite to 2018 Spring Training. The big wigs in the Rays organization will get an up close and personal look at the emerging prospect in Port Charlotte in just a matter of weeks.

Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen to Giants for Kyle Crick, Bryan Reynolds



A quick take on the two new Pirates

On Monday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates traded outfielder Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants for right-handed pitcher Kyle Crick and outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds. Here’s a quick take.

Kyle Crick, RHP: The Giants drafted Crick in the compensation round of the 2011 draft from high school in Sherman, Texas. He was very effective in A-ball but had trouble with command on reaching Double-A in 2014, spending three seasons at that level as a starter with only marginal success.

In 2017 he converted to the bullpen and was much better, posting a 2.76 ERA in 29 innings in Triple-A (39/13 K/BB), then a 3.06 ERA in 32 major league innings (28/17 K/BB, just 22 hits). He exceeded rookie limits in ‘17 so is no longer technically a prospect.

(image) Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Crick is listed at 6-4, 220, born November 30, 1992. He’s always had impressive stuff, with a fastball up to 96-98 MPH, a sweeping slider, and an occasional change-up. Control problems hampered him as a starter but he took well to relief work in ‘17, and while his walk rate remains elevated, he can certainly overpower hitters a time or two through the line-up. He has closer potential.

Bryan Reynolds, OF: Reynolds was a prominent outfielder at Vanderbilt University, earning a spot in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent 2017 with San Jose in the High-A California League, hitting .312/.364/.462 with 10 homers, 37 walks, and 106 strikeouts in 491 at-bats.

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Reynolds is listed at 6-3, 2015, a switch-hitter born January 27th, 1995. He has solid tools across the board, with at least average raw power and above-average running speed, though he hasn’t been a huge stolen base threat yet. His speed works well in the outfield and he can handle all three positions despite an average arm.

The Giants tend to be conservative about prospect promotion and the Pirates may be willing to push him up the ladder more quickly. There’s some question about how Reynolds’ power will manifest at the highest levels and it remains to be seen if he’ll be a solid regular or just a very good role player. If he gets off to a good start in ‘18 he could arrive in the majors quickly.

Along with Crick and Reynolds, the Pirates will also receive $500,000 worth of international bonus money slots.

Prospect Retrospective: the career of Justin Morneau


Justin Morneau returns to Minnesota as a special assistant. Here’s how his playing career looks in context The Minnesota Twins signed Justin Morneau as a special assistant last week, as he transitions into front office work and officially closes the book on his playing career. Let’s take a look at that career in context and how he developed as a prospect. Justin Morneau was a high school catcher in New Westminster, British Columbia, eligible for the 1999 MLB draft. He was well known to scouts due to his performance for Canada’s national youth baseball squad, impressing with his hitting skills and raw power, but his defense was considered substandard. His cold-weather background and questions about his glove pushed him down to the third round of the draft, where the Twins selected him, although this still made him the highest-drafted Canadian in ‘99. He played 17 games in rookie ball, hitting .302/.333/.396 for the Gulf Coast League Twins. I had restrictive space limits in the old STATS Minor League Scouting Notebooks back then and didn’t have room to write about the typical GCL player, but there was something about Morneau that struck me as special. I also had a very enthusiastic report from a scout who called Morneau “a young Larry Walker.” I made sure to put him in the book, writing that “Morneau probably won’t stay at catcher because his mobility is limited, but he definitely has enough power to handle first base. He’s a long-term prospect and his grade (C+) reflects that, but I have a good gut feeling about him.” The Twins sent Morneau back to the Gulf Coast League in 2000 to work on his defense behind the plate. He wasn’t terrible, throwing out 36% of runners, but most observers still saw him as a first baseman in the future. No matter his position, his hitting skills were way ahead of the GCL: he hit a stunning .402/.478/.665 with 10 homers, 30 walks, and only 18 strikeouts in 194 at-bats. I had him as a Grade B, which is a high grade from me for a rookie ball guy. Moved up to Low-A Quad Cities to open 2001, Morneau hit .356/.420/.597 in 64 games. The Twins moved him to first base and he adapted well defensively, but the bat was clearly special. His OPS was outstanding at +43 percent better than league. Promoted to Fort Myers in the High-A Florida State League, he continued hitting with a .294/.385/.437 mark in 53 contests, good for a +19 percent OPS. He hit just .158/.214/.184 in 10 games in Double-A, but nobody was concerned. Overall he hit .314/.389/.497 in 127 games. Scouting reports were excellent and I gave him a Grade B+ entering 2002, ranked 22nd among hitting prospects. Morneau spent 2002 with Double-A New Britain, hitting .298/.356/.474 with 16 homers, 42 walks, and 88 strikeouts in 494 games. His OPS was decent but not spectacular at +13 percent, however New Britain was a tough place to hit and he was hampered much of the year by an infection, possibly cutting into his production. Scouting reports remained very positive, and I gave him a Grade A- entering 2003, ranking him 12th among all hitting prospects. He began 2003 back at New Britain but a .329/.384/.620 mark in 20 games gave him a promotion to Triple-A, where he hit .268/.344/.498 in 71 contests for Rochester. He spent time in Minnesota before the All-Star Break but struggled, went back to Rochester and remained in something of a slump. Overall he hit .226/.287/.377 in 106 major league at-bats. Scouting reports remained impressive, although his plate discipline gave him some trouble at the major league level and he fanned 30 times in those 106 at-bats. Despite his inconsistency he looked like an excellent power prospect to me and I gave him a Grade A entering 2004, ranking him as the Number Six hitting prospect in the game. 2004 was split between Triple-A (.306/.377/.615 in 72 games) and the majors (.271/.340/.536 with 19 homers in just 74 games), justifyin[...]

Interview with Marlins prospect James Nelson


Miami’s 2016 15th round pick is off to a strong start in pro ball Drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 15th round of 2016, Georgia native James Nelson has done little more than hit since his first pro appearance in the Gulf Coast League. Fifteenth-round picks don’t always draw a lot of attention from baseball enthusiasts, but talent is talent, and it has a way of making itself known. The Boston Red Sox first selected him in the 18th round in 2015, but Nelson instead decided to attend Cisco Junior College in Texas. In retrospect, he believes it was a much better idea than joining the pro ranks immediately out of high school. “The biggest reason (for turning down Boston) was that I was a shortstop, and a young shortstop, at that,” Nelson recalled. “We were looking at the fact that they had a lot of depth in the infield, and I didn’t think I’d get a lot of playing time to show what I could do.” After one season at Cisco, Nelson was again drafted, this time by the Marlins but a few rounds higher. Coming into the season at age 18, Nelson more than held his own, posting a slash of .284/.344/.364 in 43 games. It was a season light on power, but the numbers suggested that there could be extra bases a-plenty in his future. Adjusting to the mental aspect of pro baseball has its own challenges, though Nelson seems unfazed by this side of the game. “As far as how you carry yourself, there’s a big difference. I mean, you gotta go out on the field and believe you’re the best. Every pitch, every ground ball, it doesn’t matter. You always have to carry yourself with confidence. But I don’t think there were any huge adjustments I had to make.” “And everybody’s good in pro ball, they throw more pitches than I saw in juco. They throw more strikes in the pros; in juco, you could just sit on the fastball. But here, they come at you with different pitches, and they throw those pitches for strikes.” Nelson credits his time in junior college with helping him to adapt to pro-level pitching. “Watching that pitching (in juco) helped me a lot, especially going into pro ball. Some of those guys I saw when I played at Cisco, I saw in the pros as well. The pitching at that level translated over pretty well to what I’ve seen in the minors” Advancing to the Class-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2017, Nelson upped his game significantly while playing against older and more-experienced competition. His OPS jumped 101 points, largely due to developing extra-base gap power (31 doubles, 7 homers) and above-average speed (6.70 in 60, measured in 2015). “Speed has helped me out a lot. I had a lot of infield hits, and sometimes I would be like ‘wow, I didn’t know I could beat out that ball’. Hustle helps out a lot, for sure.” Even more impressive: from May 2nd to June 9th, Nelson failed to reach base in a game only once. It was a forty-game stretch in which he batted .364, slugged .549, and drove in 26 runs on the strength of 14 doubles, two triples and four homers. He cooled off dramatically in July, though he did deal with hamstring issues twice in the season (.244 in 25 games), but turned it around again in August with a .354 average and .894 OPS in 12 games. Over the season, he batted an unreal .466 over 58 at-bats with two outs and runners in scoring position. He batted .331 vs. LHP, but was far from a platoon bat (.300 vs. RHP). For his efforts, Nelson was named the Marlins’ Minor-League Player of The Year. He was also a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star. Nelson’s season was no fluke; on top of a natural feel for frequent contact, he also learns and adjusts quickly to the approach of opposing pitchers. Not that it’s been easy, of course. “They’re going to throw you a lot of fastballs, obviously, because they don’t know you. But up here, everybody’s good. Everybody can play. So they’re going to come at you with everyt[...]

San Francisco Giants: 3 prospects you should know


The Giants don’t have a top farm system, but there are some nice under the radar pieces. It wasn’t long ago that the San Francisco Giants farm system was pumping out some of the better pitching talent in the big leagues. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner all rose to stardom. While it’s been a bit barren on the Giants’ farm since, there are still some intriguing pieces. This “3 to know” will thus focus on some of the lesser known pitchers in the system. Melvin Adon, RHP Adon can bring the heat. The problem is that is by and far his best offering. The Giants signed Adon out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 20 in 2015 for just $50,000 as a relative unknown. He had a terrific debut in the Dominican Summer League and made his full season debut in the South Atlantic League last year (full report from Rome can be found HERE). Adon’s fastball can hit triple-digits and he carries it well into games, hitting as high as 98 into the fifth inning in one viewing. He adds a changeup and slider, the latter a strikeout pitch that comes across in the low 80s, if and when he controls it. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> The Giants kept Adon in the rotation for much of the season, but he needs to develop his secondary pitches for that to become a reality. Now 23, he needs to start to put it together, and lower that career 3.44 walks-per-nine rate. Still, anyone that can unleash a fastball like he can is well worth watching. Garrett Williams, LHP Williams is armed with two well-above average pitches and his success in the hitter-friendly California League is certainly promising. The 23-year-old was drafted in the seventh round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Oklahoma State. While he made a name for himself on the Little League World Series stage, his high school and college career were plagued by injury and inconsistencies. After the Giants worked on his delivery last year, Williams is showing he just may be able to command his top notch stuff. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> (video from Baseball Census. There’s a good scouting report on Williams there as well.) Williams made 11 starts in the SAL and five in the Cal League. Overall, he went 6-5 with a 2.32 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Though his walk rate was 3.24-per-nine combined, the number came down significantly once he jumped to High-A, walking just ten over his six appearances. Both MLBPipeline and Baseball America seem to feel the same way in regards to Williams. They grade the fastball and curveball with high regard, so we know he has two big-league ready pitches. With the obvious improvements in his delivery and command last season, Williams has the ceiling of a middle rotation arm, but could wind up a swingman type pitcher if he can’t develop the change and consistency. Garrett Cave, RHP Garrett Cave was the first Division II player taken off the board, not surprising by any means. He transferred into Tampa from Florida International, where pitching coach Sam Militello was able to work with him. There is plenty to like in Cave, but a huge question mark remains on whether he will be coming out of the bullpen or in the rotation. Simply put, Cave has the stuff to be a starting pitcher. He hasn’t shown the consistency in delivering it. He has a great fastball, striking out 29 in his first 20 professional innings in the Northwest League, but walked 5.40 batters-per-nine over the same span. He has four pitches, highlighted by a mid-90s fastball that seems to work better in relief that as a starter. “I throw a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a curveball, change-up, and [...]